How To Bring Art Into Activism Using Artivist Drone Displays

14th July, 2022

“Artivism” was first coined in the 1960s to describe demonstrations against the Vietnam War, student movements, and counter-culture.

But it’s been arguably been around much longer than that.

For centuries, art has been used as a vital form of social commentary, with artists using their work to speak out against injustice and oppression.

In recent years, artivism has taken on a new form with the rise of technology, which has seen the emergence of new and exciting artistic mediums that call for social change.

One such art form is Celestial’s artivist drone displays.

Celestial is a drone display company that uses its unique creative designs to create large-scale events with a focus on social and environmental issues.

But what exactly does this mean, and how does it translate into our work and ethos?

Let’s explore with examples some of our best ‘artivist’ projects to date. 

Adelaide Fringe Festival – SKY SONG Display

SKY SONG at Adelaide Fringe Festival was the world’s first feature-length drone art show. 

This show was a co-design that took a year to develop, write and produce, working with multiple collaborators and across different time zones and the challenges of Covid.

The process of making the show come to life was a sensational creative experience It involved the world’s biggest holographic projector screens, show lighting and soundtrack. 

With a narrative showcasing incredible First Nation art, narration and music along with Celestial’s unique visual storytelling, we aimed to highlight the horrors of colonisation and the stolen generations and reawaken a remembering that we are all bound by universal wisdom.

You can watch the making of documentary here:

Eden Project – COP26 Display

In the run-up to COP26, The Eden Project partnered with us to create an impactful appeal using our drones to encourage world leaders to take drastic action on climate change once and for all. 

The resultant one-off 90-second artivist film, where nearly 300 drones depict the interconnectivity between humankind and the planet, is centred around the point of view of a visiting alien. 

In the film, the alien looks at humanity in disbelief as we continue to degrade the world around us, and by default, degrade ourselves. 

Check it out here:

Greenpeace – G7 Summit Display

Back in 2021, world leaders gathered for the critical G7 summit in Cornwall to decide the destiny of the natural world.

Before they did, Greenpeace got in touch with the brief of creating a powerful warning about the biodiversity crisis.

With the aim of inspiring world leaders to take action, we used the idea of spirit animals arriving in Cornwall from the four corners of the planet. This effect was created with a combination of ethereal projections, drones and special effects.

The closing frame delivered a hard-hitting message about extinction: ACT NOW.

You can watch the artivist campaign here:

Amnesty International – 60th Anniversary Display

In early 2021, we were commissioned by Art for Amnesty to create a unique piece of artivist drone art captured on film to celebrate Amnesty International’s 60th anniversary.

Fifty years previously, Pablo Picasso had drawn a Dove for Amnesty International. An artivist in his own right, he once stated in reference to his world-famous anti-war painting, “Painting is not made to decorate apartments. It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.” 

His dove inspired our creative team to recreate the iconic symbol of freedom by assembling our drones to create a giant 3D version of the bird flying around the world in a stunning display of hope and liberty.

The aim of the project was to tell a profound story of connection and solidarity, inspiring new audiences to stand up for universal human rights.  

Watch it here:


Each of these artivist drone displays reflects the values that are so dear to us at Celestial – a deep love for the natural world and a commitment to using our creativity to raise awareness of the issues that matter most.

That’s why artivism is at the heart of what we do. We believe in the power of art to inspire change and make a difference in the world.

If you’d like to find out more about our work or want help creating your own artivist projects, we’d love to hear from you – get in touch here.